Journal: Not Feeling Well and Teaching Well

Yesterday I stumbled upon a good way for me to teach a good lesson:

  • plan when I’m feeling great
  • teach when I’m feeling low-energy and kind of sick*

Why?  Because I whole-heartedly followed through with all of my well-laid plans to let the students do things; I simply didn’t have the energy to turn the class into “The Emily Show.”  I think it was up there in the top ten best lessons I’ve taught this semester.

A surprising benefit of having no last-minute subs to call upon!

* I think I’d just eaten something funny the night before.  I had no reason to believe I was contagious and I wasn’t feeling horribe enough to be willing to cancel class.  I try to be responsible about both showing up and not spreading illness!  And just FYI, today I feel great.  🙂

Journal: Semester’s Over!

Last night was my last class of the semester!

I think my favorite moment was when three of my students left arm in arm in arm – an elderly Burmese woman, a young Burmese woman, and a young El Salvadoran woman.  It was evidence of some good ESL classes because the three of them could not communicate without English, and because they probably would not communicate without a nice feeling of community in class.

Next up: exploring grad school options for a Masters of Arts in teaching ESOL… and applying.

Next semester of teaching starts January 19th!  You’ll hear from me between now and then, but not on my regular most-week-days posting schedule.  Happy winter, and happy holidays!

Family Vacation!

Birch Trees Up North by emilyjw on Flickr
Birch Trees Up North by emilyjw on Flickr

I’m departing on vacation with some of my family this evening!

There’s always a lot to do before heading out of town, especially when you know you’ll be coming back to a busy week.  And what’s the point in vacationing if you take your responsibilities with you?

So instead of blogging today’s lesson journal, I’ll be planning, packing, and vacationing!

I jotted down a quick opinion piece that you’ll see Friday, and regular class journal posts should be starting up again by Tuesday.

Hope you have a great few days!

Journal: A Long Day

Class this morning was fine. 12 students. Participation and some laughs, but I wish I’d gotten everyone out of their seat just a little more.

Then I wolfed down lunch and went and volunteered at the hospital. It was busy, and also quite fun.

Then I had to skip dinner to get to a meeting regarding the evening ESL class I’ll being teaching soon. Said meeting was 3 hours long, ending at 9pm a 45 minute drive away from my home.

One highlight of the meeting was that this is a VERY detail-oriented organization. I respect this and I know my students and I will benefit from it. I’ll do my best to meet expectations.

Another highlight was space-sharing. I’ve been accustomed to teaching in classrooms that aren’t anyone’s classrooms in particular. The teachers all shared the space alike. However, in my evening gig I’ll be teaching adults at night in a middle school. I’ll be teaching in Daytime Teacher X’s classroom, and that means I’m a guest.

I don’t mind being a guest in principle. But just one of the many ramifications of being a guest is that if Daytime Teacher X writes an assignment across the entire whiteboard and leaves a note to not erase it, I don’t have a whiteboard that night. I don’t know how likely that is to happen, but the fact that it’s a possibility is kind of disheartening. Or maybe I’m just tired out from a long day.

[insert transition to clever ending paragraph here]

The End

Volunteers and Employees

Other teacher: I love teaching here, but the lack of benefits is really hard.

Me: I’m really new, so I’m still just so happy to earn money to do a job I’d do as a volunteer.

1. I’m really lucky to enjoy my job so much.
2. Many nonprofit jobs have historically been unpaid, and many still work closely with unpaid volunteers. Maybe that shift from volunteer to employee is what’s holding the sector back from competitive compensation packages in the present. Maybe we’re collectively still sort of wondering if we should be paid at all.

Journal: Yesterday’s Bribery and This Weekend’s Planning

Yesterday I didn’t post because a student ended up staying over 45 minutes late chatting about jobs and grammar. It was awesome!

I started yesterday’s class with discussion again, and it was lively and 90% in English (there are a lot of Spanish-speakers, who sometimes prefer to communicate in Spanish). They asked for more conversations, and on the spot I had a plan: conversation starts at 8AM. Conversation ends at 8:30AM. If you want an entire 30 minutes of conversation… you have to come on time.

Given how much they’re into it, I think it’s reasonable to hope that it will be a nice bribe to get there right at 8AM. I realize it could also be taken as saying we’re not really starting till 8:30… but I think it’s a gamble worth taking.

After working with Present Continuous for two full weeks, this coming week we’re going to move to the next unit: exercise/health/wellness with a focus on how and when to use Present Continuous vs. Simple Present.

Can’t wait!